23.10.2012

American outside of America

I must say, although people - all people, and the problem for the most part all the same, there are different cultures and habits. There are some differences that are particularly striking when they are in another country.

Being a Native American - all of my grandparents and great-grandparents were born in New York, and I myself, having lived in America 41 years, deeply absorbed that seems quite common in the United States. But to come to Belarus, a country where my wife lives, I did not stop to wonder. What?

1. Depressed people on the street. Looking at the others, and I myself have sometimes thought that life - shit, and there was a desire to lie down on the couch and start to die. But then, I washed away the bad thoughts, drinking coffee, looking at my beautiful wife and I thought: "Life is amazingly beautiful and I am truly happy!"

2. In the U.S., you can always ask for water, and it will be free. In cafes, Starbucks or any other location you can always ask of ice water.

3. Buying food at McDonald's and other cafes do not have to pay separately for salt, pepper or sauces like ketchup and mustard. In Belarus, I sometimes felt that the demand for every little thing and napkins.

4. In the U.S., the toilets are free! What to do in this country, if you suddenly forgot your wallet at home, I'll never know.  I hope I don’t have to find that out. 

5. Everyone in America likes ice, and drinks are all (unless it's hot chocolate) served with ice. When you find yourself somewhere, by default all poured over ice. Supermarkets you are able to buy ice like you buy food . Stored in Belarus do not sell ice at all!

6. In America, indeed all say hello and smile. The question of "how are you?" - Is part of the greeting.  People in Belarus look at me like I am crazy when I say hello to passers-by. A smile and a greeting - it's not hypocrisy, as some say about it - but the expression of respect for the man.

7. Price does not include taxes. Therefore in Belarus pleasantly surprised when you approach the checkout - the price tag shows the final price.

8. In the U.S., tips are required, and they are higher than in Belarus.

9. People with disabilities in America - ordinary people think of the disabled and care for them - automatic doors, lifts, ramps - everything is there, everything is convenient. In Belarus,  every step people with physical challenges may feel relevant to them – or they feel as if people do not like them , or feel as people forgot them.

10. Most people in America are very friendly and they are willing and often apologize or say excuse me when they are at fault. It seems the words "sorry" or “excuse me” is not in the vocabulary of others in another country sometimes.

11. In the U.S., pending flaunt, "show-off" is not in vogue.

12. In America, before you enter the room, study, office knock and wait for permission to enter, then just enter.

13. And, of course, I cannot help wondering where the  Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeye's, Starbucks, Burger king, Whataburger, Wendy's ..., are at every turn!

But in Belarus still has something for which you can love in this country - and the people are close to nature.